Suspect Arrested in Stabbing Attack at Monsey Chanukah Party

Police outside a rabbi’s home in Monsey, N.Y., where at least five people were stabbed, Dec. 29, 2019. (Screenshot from WABC)

Correction: This article was originally titled “Suspect Arrested in Stabbing Attack at Monsey Rabbi’s Basement Synagogue.” Title has been updated to reflect that the synagogue was located adjacent to the rabbi’s house, not within it.

A suspect was arrested Saturday night in the stabbing attack at the home of a Hasidic rabbi in Money, New York.

He was identified early Sunday morning as Thomas E. Grafton, 37, of Greenwood Lake, New York.

Ramapo Police Chief Brad Weidel told the Associated Press that Grafton faces five counts of attempted murder and one count of burglary. He is expected to be arraigned on Sunday.

A Chanukah party was underway at the home of Rabbi Chaim Rottenberg, which is adjacent to his Rottenberg Shul, when the attack occurred. Five victims, all Hasidic Jews, were transported to local hospitals, according to a tweet that night by the Orthodox Jewish Public Affairs Council of the Hudson Valley.

The suspect was caught in his car after license plate readers on the George Washington Bridge and in Harlem helped police locate the vehicle, identified as a silver sedan, NBC 4 New York reported, citing an unnamed senior law enforcement official.

The Yeshiva World News reported that he was arrested covered in blood.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo called the attack “an act of domestic terrorism” and said that the law should reflect that.

Cuomo spoke to reporters on Sunday morning outside the home of Rabbi Chaim Rottenberg, the site of the attack the previous night.

“I think this is an act of terrorism, I think these are domestic terrorists. They are trying to inflict fear. They are motivated by hate,” the mayor said.

“These are terrorists in our country perpetrating terrorism on other Americans and that’s how we should treat it and that is how I want the laws in this state to treat it,” he also said.

He said he would propose a domestic terrorism law at the beginning of January in his state of the state address.

Cuomo called the hatred that motivated the violent attack a “cancer in the body politic,” saying that Saturday night’s attack was an incident in which “intolerance meets ignorance meets illegality.”

Cuomo, who said at least one of the rabbi’s sons was among the injured in the attack, met with Rottenberg at his home, and then met with other Jewish community leaders at Ramapo Town Hall.

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